Spicy King Ranch Chicken Casserole

King Ranch chicken casserole with salad on a plate.
Diana Rattray
Prep: 12 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 62 mins
Servings: 8 servings

This well-seasoned King Ranch chicken casserole is a big family favorite. You can put the tasty Tex-Mex casserole together earlier in the day, then cover and refrigerate until you're ready to bake. Make the dish with chicken breasts or chicken thighs, or use a combination of both.

This dish is open to all kinds of variations. Feel free to replace one of the cans of condensed soups with 1 cup of sour cream, or, if you aren't a fan of mushrooms, use all cream of chicken soup or half cream of celery. Instead of using all cheddar cheese, use a combination of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, or use part pepper jack cheese for a spicier topping. If you don't have a can of tomatoes with green chilies (Ro-Tel or similar), substitute with plain diced tomatoes and a small can of chopped green chili peppers. The casserole may be made with flour tortillas as well.

Serve with a tossed salad for an uncomplicated and fabulous family meal.


  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken (boneless, cooked)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Dash cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock, divided
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for King Ranch chicken casserole.
    Diana Rattray
  2. Heat the oven to 350 F (180 C/Gas 4). Lightly grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan or 3-quart shallow baking dish.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the chopped onion, bell pepper, half of the chicken stock, the condensed soups, and tomatoes with green chilis; stir to blend thoroughly.

    King Ranch chicken casserole sauce mixture.
    Diana Rattray
  4. Pour the remaining chicken stock over the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Layer half of the tortilla quarters or strips on the bottom and then top with half of the chicken.

    King Ranch chicken casserole corn tortilla layer.
    Diana Rattray
  5. Spoon half of the soup mixture over the chicken layer and then sprinkle with a little garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. Repeat the layers.

    King Ranch chicken casserole layers.
    Diana Rattray
  6. Spread the cheese over the top of the casserole and then cover the baking dish tightly with foil.

    King Ranch chicken casserole ready for the oven.
    Diana Rattray
  7. Bake the casserole for 45 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for about 10 minutes longer, or until it is hot and bubbling around the edges.

    King Ranch chicken casserole plated.
    Diana Rattray
  8. Serve the king ranch casserole with a tossed salad or sliced fresh tomatoes. Enjoy!


  • To cook the chicken, put it in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cover the pan. Simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until just thoroughly cooked. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut it into chunks.
  • Make it Ahead: The day before or several hours in advance, prepare the casserole layers. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and refrigerate the casserole. Take the casserole out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking. Increase the baking time by about 10 to 15 minutes.

Recipe Tips

  • Add about 4 to 6 ounces of sautéed sliced mushrooms to the sauce mixture.
  • Add a 2-ounce can of sliced ripe olives (drained) to the sauce mixture, or sprinkle them over the top of the casserole.